The God who calls

Who is this God who invites us to profoundly reorder our lives to their very core? After all, the call to discipleship is the invitation to radically align our allegiances, beliefs, values and behaviors according to God’s character and word.

By revisiting the stories of Moses and the Israelites, we can learn something about this God who desires to transform us. Step with me back into the sandals of Moses as he approached the burning bush. Remember, even from a distance Moses had realized this fiery bush was unusual. The fire blazed on yet it did not consume.

Notice that before God spoke one word to Moses about going to Pharaoh or leading the Israelites out of Egypt, before God began reshaping Moses’ life, God first revealed something of himself. As Moses approached the burning bush, God spoke to him thereby causing Moses to realize he stood in God’s presence.

Furthermore, God revealed he had heard Israel’s cries because of their sufferings. He also promised to rescue them and he identified himself as the God of Moses’ ancestors. God provided all of this before asking Moses to lift a finger. Moses’ service would not be built upon a blind allegiance.

Nor did God seek for either Israel or Pharaoh to respond to his message without good reason. God provided Moses with signs that he could perform for Israel and Pharaoh. God’s activity preceded any call for faith or action.

By the time Israel reached Mt. Sinai, they had seen God’s power demonstrated through the plagues, the dividing of the Red Sea as well as God’s provisions of water and bread in the wilderness. And so, when God invited Israel at Mt. Sinai to enter a covenantal relationship with him, Israel had good reason to trust and obey. No blind leap of faith was required.

Even if we roll back the clock to Abraham or Noah, God acted first and then called for a faithful response. Did God speak to Noah and Abraham through a dream, a vision or as an audible voice? The text does not specifically say. However, what we do know is that Noah and Abraham realized that God had acted; God had spoken. And because God had spoken, they had good reason to respond with faith (Hebrews 11:7-8).

In fact, the same is true today. We are being called  to accept Jesus’ life-altering message only after God has raised Christ from the dead.

Who is this God who would reorder our lives? He is a God who acts first in order to give us good reason to trust and obey.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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